Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript


Nicole: 大家好(daai6 gaa1 hou2). 我係(ngo5 hai6) Nicole.
Matt: I'm Matt and welcome back to CantoneseClass101.com, the fastest, easiest and most fun way to learn Cantonese! Today's lesson is Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson #18.
Nicole: So what are we learning today?
Matt: In this lesson you will learn all about time expression.
Nicole: And the conversation takes place at work.
Matt: This conversation is between two colleagues.
Nicole: And they're speaking casual Cantonese as always.
Matt: All right, Nicole, let's take a look at today's dialogue

Lesson conversation

而家幾點?(ji4 gaa1 gei2 dim2?)
五點半。(ng5 dim2 bun3).
夠鐘收工。(gau3 zung1 sau1 gung1).
走啦。(zau2 laa1).
Matt: One more time, a bit slower.
而家幾點?(ji4 gaa1 gei2 dim2?)
五點半。(ng5 dim2 bun3).
夠鐘收工。(gau3 zung1 sau1 gung1).
走啦。(zau2 laa1).
Matt: And now with the English translation.
而家幾點?(ji4 gaa1 gei2 dim2?)
What time is it now?
五點半。(ng5 dim2 bun3).
Half past five.
夠鐘收工。(gau3 zung1 sau1 gung1).
It's time to leave work.
走啦。(zau2 laa1).
Let's go.
Matt: I like how Cantonese people say this.
Nicole: What, 夠鐘收工?(gau3 zung1 sau1 gung1?)
Matt: Yeah, it's time to leave work. But you normally say it with pride and excitement.
Nicole: Yeah 夠鐘收工!(gau3 zung1 sau1 gung1!)
Matt: Yeah like that. It sounds like you're winning a lottery or something.
Nicole: It is an exciting news. Just saying it makes me happy.
Matt: Now since today is all about time expression, let's get to the vocabulary in a timely manner.
Nicole: That's right. Let's have a look.
Matt: So first we have.
Nicole: 而家(ji4 gaa1) [natural native speed] 而家(ji4 gaa1) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 而家(ji4 gaa1) [natural native speed]. 幾點(gei2 dim2) [natural native speed]
Matt: What time.
Nicole: 幾點(gei2 dim2) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 幾點(gei2 dim2) [natural native speed]. 半(bun3) [natural native speed]
Matt: Half.
Nicole: 半(bun3) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 半(bun3) [natural native speed]. 夠鐘(gau3 zung1) [natural native speed]
Matt: It's time.
Nicole: 夠鐘(gau3 zung1) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 夠鐘(gau3 zung1) [natural native speed]. 收工(sau1 gung1) [natural native speed]
Matt: To leave work.
Nicole: 收工(sau1 gung1) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 收工(sau1 gung1) [natural native speed]. 開工(hoi1 gung1) [natural native speed]
Matt: To start work.
Nicole: 開工(hoi1 gung1) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 開工(hoi1 gung1) [natural native speed]. 走(zau2) [natural native speed]
Matt: To leave.
Nicole: 走(zau2) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 走(zau2) [natural native speed]. 十一(sap6 jat1) [natural native speed]
Matt: The number eleven.
Nicole: 十一(sap6 jat1) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 十一(sap6 jat1) [natural native speed]. 十二(sap6 ji6) [natural native speed]
Matt: The number twelve.
Nicole: 十二(sap6 ji6) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 十二(sap6 ji6) [natural native speed]
Matt: All right, Nicole, let's take a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Nicole: Alright, the first phrase is 而家 (ji4 gaa1).
Matt: “Now”.
Nicole: 而家 (ji4 gaa1).
Matt: “Now”. And it's always stuck in at the beginning of a sentence.
Nicole: Right it's the opposite of English. Like in the dialog we heard 而家幾點 (ji4 gaa1 gei2 dim2).
Matt: Which literally translates to “now what time” or “what time is it now?”
Nicole: Right. 而家幾點?(ji4 gaa1 gei2 dim2?)
Matt: “What time is it now?” We'll talk more about time phrases in the coming lessons. But for now let's take a look at another useful phrase.
Nicole: Okay 收工 (sau1 gung1).
Matt: “To leave work”.
Nicole: 收工 (sau1 gung1).
Matt: To leave work. It's literally “to close the work”.
Nicole: Right 收工(sau1 gung1) means “to get off work”.
Matt: What's the opposite of that, Nicole?
Nicole: 開工 (hoi1 gung1).
Matt: “To start work”.
Nicole: 開工 (hoi1 gung1)
Matt: “To start work” or literally, “to open the work”.
Nicole: So you can say 而家開工 (ji4 gaa1 hoi1 gung1).
Matt: “Now start work”! Or “start work now”!
Nicole: 而家開工(ji4 gaa1 hoi1 gung1)
Matt: “Now start work!”
Nicole: 而家收工!(ji4 gaa1 sau1 gung1!)
Matt: “Now leave work!”
Nicole: 而家收工!(ji4 gaa1 sau1 gung1!)
Matt: Now leave work! That shares the same meaning with my favorite phrase.
Nicole: 夠鐘收工!(gau3 zung1 sau1 gung1!)
Matt: “Time to leave work!”
Nicole: 夠鐘收工(gau3 zung1 sau1 gung1)
Matt: “Time to leave work.” What's the first half Nicole?
Nicole: 夠鐘(gau3 zung1)
Matt: “It's time.”
Nicole: Right 夠鐘(gau3 zung1) it's literally “enough hours”, like we have worked for enough hours so we should be off work now.
Matt: That makes sense. How about the opposite of that?
Nicole: 夠鐘開工?(gau3 zung1 hoi1 gung1 ?)
Matt: “It's time to start work.”
Nicole: 夠鐘開工(gau3 zung1 hoi1 gung1)
Matt: “It's time to start work.”
Nicole: Yeah, this 夠鐘(gau3 zung1) phrase is really, really helpful and useful. When you want to remind somebody of doing someone at that time, you can say 夠鐘(gau3 zung1) do something.
Matt: You can just put in whatever verb phrase you want to say after it's time.
Nicole: Yeah, like 夠鐘食飯 (gau3 zung1 sik6 faan6).
Matt: Which means “it's time to eat”.
Nicole: 夠鐘開工!(gau3 zung1 hoi1 gung1!)
Matt: “It's time to work.”
Nicole: Maybe less willingly, 夠鐘開工 (gau3 zung1 hoi1 gung1).
Matt: Yeah, it's not always fun to go to work. But remember you can always stick in 'now' before.
Nicole: Right. 而家夠鐘開工!(ji4 gaa1 gau3 zung1 hoi1 gung1!)
Matt: “It's time to work now!”
Nicole: 而家夠鐘開飯!(ji4 gaa1 gau3 zung1 hoi1 faan6!)
Matt: “It's time to…” hold on a second there, Nicole, what's the last word you said there?
Nicole: 開飯(hoi1 faan6), that's an interesting word. 開飯(hoi1 faan6), it means “be ready to eat”.
Matt: Ah, but literally translated it means “to open the rice”.
Nicole: Yeah. You'll hear 開飯(hoi1 faan6) a lot. We're combining the first half of the 開工(hoi1 gung1).
Matt: “To start work”.
Nicole: And the second half of the 食飯(sik6 faan6).
Matt: “To eat”.
Nicole: So we combine these two together it becomes 開飯(hoi1 faan6). And you'll hear this when it's dinner time and the mother will say this to the father and the kids, 開飯(hoi1 faan6). Or she will say 開飯喇(hoi1 faan6 laa3).
Matt: Which means “meal's ready!” So now go wash your hands and sit around the table.
Nicole: Yeah. Or when you're treating your friends and you are cooking, you can say 開飯喇(hoi1 faan6 laa3) when it's ready.
Matt: Again this means, the meal's ready. But can you say when you're eating alone, Nicole?
Nicole: I think so when you want to talk to yourself or your lunch box. You can say 開飯喇 (hoi1 faan6 laa3).
Matt: Now, Nicole, can we be more specific about our time expressions by using numbers?
Nicole: Sure. It's going to be easy. But before that we want to make sure our listeners remember how to say numbers 1-12.
Matt: Now we've learned 1 through 10 in earlier lessons.
Nicole: That's right 一(jat1)
Matt: 1.
Nicole: 二(ji6)
Matt: 2.
Nicole: 三(saam1)
Matt: 3.
Nicole: 四(sei3)
Matt: 4.
Nicole: 五(ng5)
Matt: 5.
Nicole: 六(luk6)
Matt: 6.
Nicole: 七(cat1)
Matt: 7.
Matt: 8.
Nicole: 九(gau2)
Matt: 9.
Nicole: 十(sap6)
Matt: 10, and today we'll teach you 11 and 12.
Nicole: 十一(sap6 jat1)
Matt: 11 or “ten one”
Nicole: 十一(sap6 jat1) (slow)
Matt: 11. So the way to say numbers bigger than 10 is first say 10.
Nicole: 十(sap6)
Matt: And then you'll say the single's place.
Nicole: 十一(sap6 jat1)
Matt: Which means 11, now how about 12, Nicole?
Nicole: 十二(sap6 ji6)
Matt: 12 or “ten two”
Nicole: 十二(sap6 ji6) (slow) 十二 (sap6 ji6)(normal)
Matt: 12.
Nicole: That's right. And for bigger numbers, just do the same, like twenty three, 二十三(ji6 sap6 saam1).
Matt: If we break that down, that's 20 and 3.
Nicole: 二十,三。二十三。 (ji6 sap6, saam1. ji6 sap6 saam1.)
Matt: Let's practice one more, Nicole. Let's practice your age.
Nicole: 十七 (sap6 cat1).
Matt: 17? Come one, Nicole. Don't be a liar.
Nicole: Fine. 十八 (sap6 baat3).
Matt: 18? Listeners, do we think that she's telling the truth here? I don't think she is.
Nicole: Why not? The listeners can't see me.
Matt: If you're not truthful, Nicole, I'll start posting your pictures online. But just so our listeners know, I am 23.
Nicole: Please. You're double that age. And don't try to fight back. Let's go to our grammar section today.

Lesson focus

Matt: Our lesson focus today is expressing time.
Nicole: That's right. And there are basically three different types of time situations, full hours, like 7 o'clock; half hours, like 7:30; and some random time like 7:15 or something.
Matt: Right. So let's remind our listeners how to ask about time.
Nicole: There are two ways to say it, 幾時 (gei2 si4).
Matt: Which means “when”.
Nicole: And 幾點 (gei2 dim2).
Matt: Which is “what time”. Note that this is asking about the exact clock time but not really a general time.
Nicole: That's right. 幾點 (gei2 dim2).
Matt: “What time”.
Nicole: This is very helpful. If you know how to say 幾點(gei2 dim2) you know how to say the very important 點 (dim2)
Matt: Which is o'clock.
Nicole: 點(dim2) as in the word 點心 (dim2 sam1).
Matt: Again, that means o'clock. If you want to express full hours you only need to say the number and then dim.
Nicole: That's right, like 十點 (sap6 dim2).
Matt: 10 o'clock.
Nicole: 兩點 (loeng5 dim2)
Matt: 2 o'clock. Note that the two is different than we normally say.
Nicole: Right. In time expression, instead of saying 二(ji6), we say 兩(loeng5).
Matt: two.
Nicole: 兩點 (loeng5 dim2).
Matt: 2 o'clock.
Nicole: Now if you want to say half hours, like 2:30, you simply add a 半(bun3).
Matt: Which means “half”…
Nicole: …to the end. 兩點半(loeng5 dim2 bun3).
Matt: 2:30 or literally 2 o'clock half.
Nicole: 十一點半 (sap6 jat1 dim2 bun3).
Matt: 11:30.
Nicole: 十二點半 (sap6 ji6 dim2 bun3).
Matt: 12.30. Okay it's pretty easy so far, Nicole. Now what if we need to say random time say 3:15 for instance?
Nicole: 三點三 (saam1 dim2 saam1).
Matt: That's interesting, so it literally translates to “3 o'clock 3”.
Nicole: Yeah 三點三(saam1 dim2 saam1). What I'm doing here is that I say the full hour first, 三點(saam1 dim2), and then add 3 to it as when it's 15 minutes the clock, the minute hand will be pointing at the number 3. So we say 三點三 (saam1 dim2 saam1).
Matt: That's right. First say the hour.
Nicole: 三(saam1)
Matt: And then “o'clock”.
Nicole: 點(dim2)
Matt: Then we say the number that the minute hand is on.
Nicole: 三(saam1), that means 15 minutes.
Matt: So what would 5 minutes be, Nicole?
Nicole: 一(jat1)
Matt: Or 1. What would 10 minutes be?
Nicole: 二(ji6)
Matt: Which is the 2. So 15 min is 3.
Nicole: 三(saam1)
Matt: And so on and so on.
Nicole: That's right, like 九點七 (gau2 dim2 cat1).
Matt: 9:35, because the 7 would indicate 35 minutes pass the hour.
Nicole: Yeah. I need to calculate that, 十一點十一 (sap6 jat1 dim2 sap6 jat1).
Matt: that's 11:55.
Nicole: Yeah. Isn't Cantonese easy?
Matt: Well maybe after you understand the system, but as a beginner, it's probably a bit more difficult. Now for this, we really only need to know how to count to twelve to be able to tell time in Cantonese!
Nicole: That's right. But you may have noticed, if you really want to say 7:17, the Cantonese way of doing it is you say 7:15 and you add a little bit more to the end, like 七點三多啲 (cat1 dim2 saam1 do1 di1).
Matt: So that just means “a little more than 7:15”.
Nicole: 七點三多啲 (cat1 dim2 saam1 do1 di1).


Matt: Now that makes sense. Now, I know why Cantonese people are always late. So that just about does it for today, and right on time. But remember listeners, testing yourself is one of the most effective ways to learn.
Nicole: That's why we have three types of quizzes.
Matt: That's right, vocabulary, grammar and content specific.
Nicole: Each quiz targets a specific skill.
Matt: And together these quizzes will help you master several fundamental skills.
Nicole: You'll find them in the learning center at…
Matt: CantoneseClass101.com.
Nicole: That's right. I'm Nicole.
Matt: And I'm Matt. Thanks for tuning in.
Nicole: Thank you.


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Work may have just finished, but your Cantonese studies have just begun. This isn't work, it's fun!

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 04:29 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello Dylan,

Quizzes can be accessed by clicking on the Take Quiz button, although as of now, we only have vocabulary quizzes available on our site. Thank you for your understanding and please let us know if you have any further questions!

Kind regards,


Team CantoneseClass101.com

Friday at 10:10 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Is there a link for the quizzes mentioned? I am having a hard time finding them for some reason.

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 09:16 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Nick,

Thanks for your question.

In this sentence, "就" is to emphasize the fact that "I want it NOW", which you can feel the difference when reading the sentence out loud. 😉


Team CantoneseClass101.com

Monday at 12:43 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.


I was wondering about the sentence 我而家就要 in the lesson notes. It is translated as “I want it now.” Why is the 就 included in the sentence?

Thanks for your time! Looking forward to the response.


Saturday at 01:49 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello Vincent,


sap6 ji6 ceoi4 luk6 dak1 ji6。

Six goes into twelve twice.

得(dak1)~ obtain, get, allow, Ok

得唔得呀?(dak1 m4 dak1 aa3?)~ Is that OK?

得閑(dak1 haan4)~available, have free time.

你得唔得閑呀?(nei5 dak1 m4 dak1 haan4 aa3?)~ Are you free?


Team CantoneseClass101.com

Monday at 10:01 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

In the vocabulary sentence for "twelve," ("sap6 ji6 ceoi4 luk6 dak1 ji6. Six goes into twelve twice.") does "dak1" mean "equal," or "make/yield", or "is" or something else, and whatever its meaning, can you give more examples of how "dak1" is used in this sense? Thank you!

Tuesday at 09:56 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Zhaoyang,

Thank you for pointing out the typo, you're right, 而家 should it be "ji4 gaa1".

It's fixed now, sorry for the confusion :sweat_smile:


Team CantoneseClass101.com

Sunday at 06:57 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

In the vocabulary list and one of the expansion sentences, should it be 而家 ji4 gaa1, not ji6 gaa1?

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 12:22 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Igor,

always feel free to comment or ask us any questions!

We will be glad to help!


Sunday at 01:02 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Thank you very much for your answer, it's really helpful.